Recently, my wife inadvertently got water in her Timex watch. Even though it is supposed to be water-resistant to 50 meters (~165 ft), which would be a pressure of over 65 psi, it got waterlogged with just a quick trip into the shower… Not sure how that works. This required me taking the back off of her watch and then replacing Timex watch back. I heard her go into the shower and not even a minute later say oh shoot (unlike me, she rarely swears), and then set the watch down outside the shower. I could see water under the crystal. 🙁
In here, I’ll discuss removing the timex watch back and then, more importantly, replacing timex watch back. I’m not sure how the professional watch repair places do it, but I imagine the have a special tool for replacing timex watch back. Actually, the same tool is probably used for all watches that have the back pressed on as opposed to either being screwed on or held on with screws. Several of my “scuba diver” watches had the screwed on case. The current watch I wear has the back attached with four tiny screws through the back plate into the main plate.
Before you remove the back, I strongly suggest you figure out if you have the necessary tools so that replacing the timex watch back doesn’t mean going to the store and having someone else do it. The trick to this is that you need a “cup” that you can lay the watch in, face down so that the rim of the cup does NOT touch the crystal NOR does it touch the stem. I used the cap off a shampoo or conditioner bottle as my cup. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked, none the less.
Replacing Timex Watch Back – Tools
c-clamp large enough to grasp the watch and your holder
a cup or holder for the watch
I used a hard plastic cap to large bottle
Other ideas a piece of HARD wood (i.e pine won’t work)
PVC pipe cap
metal pipe cap
if you’re using a metal cap you will need a soft cloth or other soft item to protect the surface of the watch from scratching. I got lucky with my hard plastic cap.
if using hardwood or scrap metal, you can drill the correct size hole so that it is a perfect fit.
soft cloth or rubber pad to put the watch on (if using something other than plastic as your holder)
When I removed the back I was concerned about the knife blade potentially shattering and throwing shards into my eyes so I wore safety glasses. (Cheap insurance)
Remove one of the retaining pins from the bracelet so that the watch body is only attached to one end of the bracelet. This is not really essential at this point, but will make re-assembly much easier. Furthermore, you are less likely to damage the watch internals if you get the bracelet out of the way before you open the case. Still, if you prefer when replacing timex watch back, do it later.
Place the knife blade under the tab that is at about 1 to 2 O’clock on the case back as you look at the words in a right side up, readable, fashion. Gently pry the case back up. As it comes up, be sure not to scratch or cut the rubber gasket that surrounds the case. See the attached drawing. The Gasket sits in the groove, and the inner lip of the groove is smaller than the opening of the case, while the outer lip is larger and sits over the watch back. This prevents the back from falling into the watch and protects the soft gasket from damage. Notice that the tab is sitting adjacent to one of the bracelet anchor points that extend from the case. This is great as it gives you an anchor to pry against when opening. Remember this when you are putting the watch back back on.
You’ll notice that when you remove the back of the watch it doesn’t pop or snap, it is a gentle continuous motion. Nothing Jerkey. No noises, it weill go back on the same way.
After drying the watch (in my case) and replacing the battery it is a 1216 battery 3V lithium, you’re ready to replace the back. First make sure the gasket is completely and properly seated in the groove on the case back. Clean all exposed areas of the case. I used “Q-tips” dipped in IPA to clean the mung from around the back. It’s amazing how much dirt and grime can get under there given how tightly it is closed. Be careful not to push the dirt into the watch.
Place the watch face down on your circular holder. Ensure that the stem of the watch clears the rim too. In my experience while I could place the watch properly clearing all obstacle, as soon as I began to tighten the first clamp onto the back of the watch it would slide enough that the stem would hit the rim. If I continued to apply pressure I was concerned that it would bend the stem. I thought of two ways out of this pickle. the first would be to cut a notch in the rim slightly bigger than the stem so that the stem wouldn’t contact it. A Dremel tool would make short work of it. I decide to try my second idea first as this bottle cap needed to go back on the product. That was to pull the stem out like I was going to set the watch. That was very close, but worked saving me from having to perform surgery on the cap. Put the clamp on the back and gently tighten it. You want to have the clamp off to the side, close to the edge of the case.
Two reasons for this:
First it will help ensure the sealing gasket is properly seated and not pinched. Second the edge of the case is stronger against in/out pressure than in the center. I envision the possibility of the clamp dimpling the case back before it is seated and possibly contacting the electronics and damaging it. If you want to try it with only one clamp, then I recommend inserting some type of metal plate under the foot of the C-clamp so you can spread the force out over a larger area and be sure not to damage the case back.
Gently tighten the clamp until the case is seated on that side.
Add the second clamp on the other side of the case and begin tightening it gently. Watch carefully as you tighten the clamp. Make sure the watch doesn’t slip or move and potentially damage the stem or crystal as you continue tightening the clamps to replacing timex watch back.
Again, the back will gently push into the case. Once in place, slowly loosen the clamps, one at a time. As you loosen the clamps, be sure the case doesn’t start to come apart. As long as you’ve properly aligned everything and have not pinched the gasket, you’ll be fine.
Let me know if you’ve found this helpful in the comments below.